“Why are they attacking it?”
“Because it’s there, and it’s not theirs.”It was supposed to be a slow evening - several of our corp members were out for some holiday or another, the others were lounging around. Some physically here in our corp lounge, the others virtually via comms. I was busy in a private comm with an old friend of mine which I hadn’t seen in a while, but whom I still had a soft spot for. ‘Busy’ in as such that I was also trying to answer questions from our rookie pilots in between chat pauses.
Questions like: “What is a POCO, and why is it being attacked?”
“A POCO is a ‘pilot-owned customs office’ - we use them to conduct planetary manufacturing and…” - the full question finally registered with me - “What do you mean with ‘attacked’?”
“Here, I got this in my mail.” Monique showed me her comm pad.
I looked at it - indeed: a structure notification from CONCORD: one of our POCOs was at 76% shield.
“I didn’t know that we had POCOs there.”, commented Monique.
“Neither did I - though I probably should have remembered.” I replied absentmindedly. The name of the attacking alliance didn’t ring a name - Dark Knights of Eden? - and right now we didn’t really have many of our fire breathers in vicinity.
“I’ll take a look.” Kitten dropped her book onto the floor and got up. “You’ll have eyes in five minutes.”
With a sigh, I apologized to my friend, and after the goodbyes I checked my hangar. Hmm, I had my Anomaly Stabber ready, but would it be able to handle a structure-bashing fleet? I’d have to improvise, possibly. Quietly I got up and went to board my ship.
A few minutes passed, and another notification came in: the shields were now at 56%.
[ 30 minutes to do 25% damage. They are hitting it with only a few ships - 1300 dps worth. ] commented a voice on Corp comms - somebody I didn’t immediately recognize.
[ Indeed. ] spoke up Kitten. [ Three Vexor Navies, and a Thorax - and they are using… scout and sentry drones. ]
I frowned - my Stabber couldn't handle that. I threw out a few ideas on comms - destroyers, flybys, etc - but I wasn’t optimistic. Even if we could muster the people and ships, we wouldn’t have had the training. I had a Tornado nearby, but without support, it would be dead within seconds as well. Besides, it was in Sasiekko, several hops through hi-sec from here. But maybe… I wavered, and turned my Stabber back to the station, to switch it to somewhat faster. Having my Tornado nearby would be a good thing anyway, and right now there wasn’t much else to do.
It was a depressing journey - Coll took a trip through the system and reported eight hostiles total, and every thirty minutes we got a new notification from CONCORD: the shields dropped to 42%, then 45%.
[ Ok, there are now 14 of them in the system, and they have stepped up their game. ], reported Kitten. [ We are looking at more cruisers with Logi support, and two torpedo bombers as well. ]
I had just docked up back in my home station in my Tornado when the final notification came in: the POCO was now in re-inforced mode.
[ I feel abused by how long that took. ] piped up the unknown voice again. [ Can you please ask them to stop embarrassing themselves? ]
[ Maybe. ] answered Kitten. [ They are… yep, warping to our other POCO. Stand by.
[ Same setup - cruisers in one group, logi in the other - and the two bombers huddling together. ]
I perked up. “The two bombers - can you give me a fly-by warp-in and warp-out? Just to do some token damage?”
[ Hmm… ] she sounded doubtful. [ I’ll try - but with their increased damage projection, I may not be able to finish it in time. ]
Minutes passed in silence, while I boarded my Stabber again and found my way to the system next to our POCOs.
[ Ok, I have the warp-out, and … oh, interesting. Their leader convoed me - let’s see what he has to say. ]
I knew better than to ask unnecessary questions now. She’d continue to work on the warp-ins while trying to string their fleet leader along.
[ Oh-kay,… apparently this is a punishment expedition, because of us shooting neutrals in Providence. ]
If it hadn’t been for the amniotic fluid in my pod, I would have groaned.
“Geez, we were red before we even moved here - so technically we followed NRDS to the letter!”
[ …and apparently we shot fleet members? ]
I could imagine her mental shrug: [ That’s what he says - it was apparently investigated by the Magistrate for Proviblock. ] She chuckled. [ And I quote: ‘whoever that is’ ].
[ Hey! ] the unknown voice interjected. [ Ask them if they would like some help. It’s taking too long. ]
“And we hate getting spammed by Structure Notifications.” I added.
Kitten was quiet for a few minutes, then spoke up again. [ No reaction, except for the suggestion to turn off the notifications. I told him no, we might miss something important if we did that. ] She paused, then cursed. [ Crap! I was too slow! They were done just when I got to the warp-in position. ]
“You’re getting old, Kitten!”
[ So are you. ] she replied playfully, hiding her own disappointment. [ It has been a while. ]
“No worries, same here. Come back if they’re leaving.”
[ Roger that. ]
[ So, now, what is this about our POCOs? ] A new voice - Greygal! She must have joined just in time to hear the tail end.
And so we filled her in, including a full recording of the chat Kitten had had with our opponents.
[ Ok. ] She finally said. [ I rather not have a war right now since we have so many rookies, but hey, no better way to learn how to deal with a war. I am thinking: defense fleet. ]
“And play it by ear, be more flexible than they are.” I couldn’t resist adding, smartass I could be.